Fordham University & the United States: A History Details a University’s Storied Past



Today, we welcome a guest post from Charleen Famiglietti about the new book Fordham University & the United States. Enjoy! Lisa

Fordham University & the United States: A History Details a University’s Storied Past
From Civil War Heroes and Presidential Visits to Vietnam Unrest and Rebirth as
a Nationally Respected Institution, a Memorable Tribute

Fordham University & the United States: A History

Fordham University & the United States: A History

In Fordham University & the United States: A History (E-Lit Books, October 2013, $19.99), Debra Caruso Marrone delivers a breezy, informative title for American history lovers and anyone associated with the 172-year-old institution.  Founded as St. John’s College in 1841 by New York Archbishop John Hughes, the university began as a vehicle to educate young men and deliver Catholics to the upper class.

Caruso Marrone, a Fordham graduate and member of the alumni association’s Board of Directors, documents the life of the university, intertwining university events and the students and faculty members who made their mark on the nation.  She writes about national figures who impacted the institution, once a stomping ground for U.S. presidents, war heroes and leaders in all fields.  The book contains the story of Fordham’s rebirth, alongside that of the Bronx, under its three most recent presidents and includes photographs dating back to the mid 1800’s.

A fundraiser for Fordham students via the Fordham College Alumni Association, the book will also be of interest to those with ties to the Bronx.  70% of all proceeds from will be donated to the Fordham College Alumni Association for its Journalism Scholar’s Award.

Even those who know the basic history of Fordham – the playing days of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, the university as home to the troops during both world wars and the years of unrest during Vietnam – will find new historical details.

  • Fordham, a destination for students from the North and South, produced a number of Civil War heroes who often met on the battlefield, including Robert Gould Shaw, commander of the first all-black U.S. Army regiment made famous by Matthew Broderick in the movie, “Glory.”
  • When Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited the university on October 28, 1940, just days before his second reelection, he was sent there by a campaign manager who was afraid the president might be beaten by Wall Street industrialist Wendell Willkie who had paid a recent visit.
  • Harry Truman and Richard Nixon both received honorary degrees from Fordham; the latter posed with a live Ram (the school’s mascot) who wore a “Vote for Nixon” button on its forehead.
  • Tragically, Robert F. Kennedy was scheduled to deliver the Fordham commencement address on June 8, 1968, just three days after his tragic assassination in Los Angeles.

“I tried to produce a work that showed how this grand institution fit into the scheme of U.S. history,” said Caruso Marrone, owner of the New York City media relations firm DJC Communications.

“Conducting the research was a labor of love.  I hope readers will enjoy learning so many great tidbits about New York City, the U.S. and Fordham.  I believe Fordham alumni will experience a reinforcement of that special connection that starts with a short four years and lasts a lifetime, somehow transcending decades and miles.”

The book reveals information about the prejudice felt by Catholics before and after the turn of the last century, the reason a number of Popes during that era urged New York’s Catholic hierarchy to establish an upper class of its own.  It details the evolution of Jesuit and Catholic higher education.

About the Author: Debra Caruso Marrone, president and owner of DJC Communications in New York City, has more than 30 years experience as a media executive.  Her firm, founded in 1991, represents corporations, non-profit organizations, colleges and universities.  She has been quoted on media issues in Marketwatch, ABC News Radio, WNYC, the Arizona Republic,, AOL WalletPop, the Christian Science Monitor and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others.  A graduate of Fordham University with a degree in journalism, Debra was previously vice president at Sheehan Communications, Inc.  Married with two children, she is author of the blog, TV Takes All, and serves on the board of directors of the Fordham College Alumni Association and Jazz 2 Cure, which raises funds for music therapy for cancer patients.  Featured in the Huffington Post, Debra has also authored articles on public relations in such publications as BullDog Reporter,, O’Dwyer’s PR Magazine and on such topics as advice for the presidential candidates.

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A question for you: Where did you attend college? Do you still have an attachment to your college or university?

Copyright 2013 Lisa M. Hendey


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder of, a bestselling author and an international speaker. A frequent radio and television guest, Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and communications. Visit Lisa at or on social media @LisaHendey for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish, school or organization. Find Lisa’s books on her Amazon author page.

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